Trumpeter Swans Might Not Be Endangered Anymore

January 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Features

In this day and age of destruction and desolation, it is not often that you find wildlife officials reaching positive milestones. Yet that is exactly what is happening in Wisconsin. It seems that in that part of the United States, trumpeter swan numbers have increased so much that officials are now considering whether or not to remove them from the local endangered wildlife species list.

Trumpeter swans in Wisconsin suffered a dramatic decline in numbers in the past – so much so that they were listed as an endangered species in that area. Their decline was the result of a number of different factors, but mainly through human interference. For starters they were ruthlessly hunted before the turn of the 19th century, leading to a dramatic decrease in numbers. What was left was further affected by the use of the pesticide DDT in the area, with the result that local populations were well and truly decimated. Fortunately the state-run Department of Natural Resources saw the need to take action and the majestic white birds were reintroduced to the state in the 1980s. Trumpeter swans in Wisconsin were also placed on the endangered list in 1986, as part of efforts to further ensure their survival. The original goal was to see 20 breeding pairs firmly established in the area. The Department of Natural Resources and other partner organizations have been hard at work trying to ensure their survival by building artificial nesting platforms and doing whatever else might assist the birds in their attempts to breed successfully. What must have seemed painstaking work back then has now yielded fine results. By 1989, the birds were downgraded from endangered to threatened. Just last year there are estimated to be over 120 breeding pairs in Wisconsin, spread across 20 different counties in the state. Now, it seems that there are about 500 nesting pairs in the area!

Since it seems that local trumpeter swan populations are well and truly on the way to recovery, officials are now faced with the task of deciding whether or not to remove them from their endangered species list. Choosing to de-list the bird species in Wisconsin will not leave it completely unprotected, as it will still fall under the safeguard of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Natural Resources Board will make the final decision whether or not to de-list the bird at its official meeting in January 28, 2009.

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